Zoetica: Alright team, this is our mission: to take over 1933 Slaughterhouse. It’s hard to believe this gorgeous Escheresque building in the historic Hongkou District, this eerie Gotham-deco architectural achievement in concrete, glass, and steel, was originally intended for herding cows to their doom, single-file. Indeed, the original purpose behind the hulking spider web of intertwining staircases, bridges, and corridors, designed by British architects and built in 1933 by Chinese developers, was the acquisition of beef.
This place had gone through several incarnations over the past century: medicine factory, cold storage, and it’s current, perhaps most depressing turn as a “lifestyle center”, complete with – wait for it… A Ferrari owners club. Though there are occasional club nights, independent markets and other creative endeavors taking place here, for the most part Slaughterhouse 1933 has got to be be one of the most misused venues in the universe. With tons of space and natural light, it screams “Art Community”, but is littered with boring, mainstream nonsense like wedding dress boutiques and furniture stores instead. Still, if you’re interested in urban exploration, decay, architecture, or are looking for a stunning photo backdrop, 1933 Slaughterhouse is a must-see.
Shien: Aside from the theater space, a few interesting design studios and high end antique/art stores, overpriced restaurants and other unbefitting businesses cheapen the charm of this venue. It was advertised in many guides as a creative center, but that was definitely not the case during our visit. It’s a familiar urban story – amazing historic site converted into a giant mall primarily visited by tourists and the nouveau riche. Zoetica and I fantasized about how amazing the space would be as a cultural center, filled with art galleries and studios, complete, of course, with a glorious nightclub on the top floor.
Nevertheless, the impressive maze of spiraling staircases, interlocking ramps, air bridges and dark concrete atriums is amazing to explore, provoking feelings of awe and disoriented fascination. Despite the cold and harsh look of the concrete, the architect incorporated many charming decorative elements to the structure’s columns and facade, as well as beautifully designed art deco motifs in many of the windows.
Zoetica: And hey – there is plenty of available space. Maybe something truly grand is yet to happen here!
10 Shajing Road (虹口区沙泾路10号)